This came up as I was trying to describe the neighborhood where I’d like to live. Naturally, I’m in what I call crypto-social mode, which involves both dumbing down my commentary so it does not seem elitist and avoiding that which offends the hive-mind of media memes and social fashions.
All I could come up with was: “People like me: mostly Western European, independent-minded but realistic, and Christian or compatible with it.”
When asked for clarification, all I could say (in crypto-social mode) that I wanted a neighborhood where people were compatible with basic Christian-style conservative values. These are lowercase-c conservative, meaning practical and time-honored, not some sort of ideological jihad. They occur in a good many people who are not Christian or even anti-Christian, but if the values are the same, the compatibility is there.
- Responsibility. The idealistic notion that you should do the right thing by others is common, but the notion of responsibility to a higher order — civilization, God, justice — is rare. Plenty of people will share their toys with other kids, and we have lots of voices screaming to make sure every kid has a toy, but very few have the brains to make sure the kid with artistic talent gets the pens sometimes and not the Tonka Truck every time.
- Chastity. As parents invested in biological survival, we want chaste, marriage-minded and family-oriented, heterosexual children. Some rely on the Bible for this, but to me, it’s pure biology. Without the above you do not achieve evolutionary success, although you may achieve reproduction. I want only examples of the same around so the children do not doubt their path in life and explore dead-ends dressed up as “fascinating journeys.”
- Sobriety. I can’t count on being cool anymore after having said this. However, showing off with a drink is the kind of cheap trick a Hollywood movie would pull to convince you that a character is fun, edgy, insert-cliche-here and worthy of your sympathy. Most of the real men and real women that I know have little or no use for it. The glass of wine with dinner is OK; constant bar-hopping, trying to drink away the pain, or hoping to put lustre on a failing life through alcohol is not just against my values; it’s plain stupid and a bad role model for kids and adults.
- Gratitude. Possibly the most important attribute is gratitude, reverence and awe at the world around us. Religious people tend to view life as a gift; others, as a sentence to be served grudgingly. If you’re going to go through the trouble of having a family, you want happy kids who believe in life and believe in doing the right thing by life because life is itself a great and enduring positive experience.
This is what I’d call Christian values-compatible (CVC). It’s not going to win you any points with the hedonist crowd, or the perpetual teenagers or hipsters, but it will appeal to anyone who has gotten past the initial pleasures of life and started looking toward the long-term: family, career, politics and culture.